Author Topic: Creating an Off-season Event. Overall Planning - process, results and reflection  (Read 340 times)

Louis L

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One of the things I made sure to do at the outset was document how the BSB came to be. A lot of thought went into the overall process; we didn't jump in blind! Here's a collection of thoughts on the process as well as some results (did things work out?) after some time to reflect on the whole gig. Note that some of the outlined topics are high level and others not as much so.

Why are you doing this?
    This is perhaps the most important question. Make sure you have an answer that makes sense
        before continuing. "Because we want to" is not good enough!
    Do you know if there is interest among other team to attend your event?
        Send out a survey?

Homework
    Ask others what they went through to produce an event
    Research resources on FIRST web site
    Talk to local/District/Regional FIRST representatives

Resource allocation
    Do you have the resources to pull off an event?
        Money to cover various costs
        People to make it all happen before, during and after the event
        Interest on your team to make it happen
    If you don't have the resources, can you team up with 1 or more other FRC teams to make it happen?

Define your goals.
    Who is your audience?
        FRC teams
        local community
        what age groups?
    Do you plan on making money from this or not?
        will there be a fundraising component to the overall event?
    Is there anything that will make this competition unique and/or different from others?
        Is there an area of focus?
    Will you have awards?
        If so, what for?
        Will the awards be different than the standard awards given at other events?
    Is this a one-time event or a recurring event?
        Does this affect your budget? your planning?
   
Determine your limitation (know thyself)
    What's your budget?
        Set cost for event
        How sensitive are you to cost overruns?
    Make list of expenses. Allow for unexpected things. Examples include:
        Transportation of field to/from
        T-shirts?
        Field/setup supplies
        Any rental costs
        Any venue costs
    Can you get sponsorship for the event?
   
Determine logistics and process
    Where will this be held?
        Does the venue provide flat/ramp access for large items like the field shipping cases and robots?
    What permits do you need to obtain?
    What about insurance?
    Do you need a resource (police) officer?
    Are there limitations to using this venue?
    When will this be held?
        Will the venue be available at this time?
        Don't forget day/time for field setup.
        Are there conflicts with other activities at the venue?
        Will volunteers be available for setup and day of competition?
    Will a field be available at this time?
   
Determine what you need to do to achieve your goals
    what do you need to buy?
    what do you need to rent?
    what do you need to borrow?
    how will you advertise and promote this event?
   
Divide an conquer
    assign different tasks to different leaders
        field setup and teardown
        food & drinks
        PR & advertising
        web site
        venue prep & signage
        pit setup and teardown
        A/V
        other activities (if any)
        logo, design, t-shirt
    Farm out anything that another group can do.
        Ex - A/V stuff can be done by the school's tech crew.
       
Venue setup
    Know what will go where; do floor plan. Be sure to include storage for field cases
    How will teams load and unload their robots to/from the parking lot?
    Do you need to protect the flooring?
    Do you have access to electrical power? Do you have enough cabling for all pits?
    What about A/V equipment for music, sound and main FMS table?
    Do you have tables to use in the pits and scoring table?
        Keep in mind that pit tables may get damaged!
    Be sure to get chairs as needed
    Tables and chairs can be rented - be sure to account for lead time, delivery and pickup times and charges.
   
Don't forget
    outside and inside signage for visitors
    load-in/out help
    parking lot attendants
    trophies or awards
    buy stuff you need well ahead of time
    t-shirts or related items
    food for visitors
    food for volunteers
   
Promote
    Let your district / region know about your event. Add to their web site.
    Let FIRST know. Add to their web site.
    Let other teams know - your personal contact list
    Let your community know
    Let your school(s) know
    Promote at local library, local cable, local fairs
     
Volunteers
    Who's your FTA? Talk to your local FIRST rep.
    Who's your head ref?
    Who are the other refs, game announcers, score keepers, etc?
    Seek out school organizations - student council, national honor society.
        volunteer positions that do not require FRC challenge knowledge (food, load-in) can
        be handled by outside volunteers. But anything that directly involves robotics should
        be done by a Team student.
    Other jobs for game day
        DJ - have proper music ready!
        video - will this event be streamed on the web? local cable TV?

For all ages
    If your target audience includes younger students, is there anything for them at your event?
        FLL?
   
Oops!
    Murphy can strike at any time; be ready to roll with the punches.
    For a given scenario, is there a Plan B?
        ex: what if there are not enough teams signed up?

Dollars and Sense
    Things can get expensive really fast. Consider costs carefully.
        Expenses that are not re-used (like t-shirts given away) can add up quickly.
        Reusable parts (like extension cords to pits) can be considered investments.
        Consider alternatives.
    Can you absorb a busted budget? In case of cost-overrun, will your team suffer badly?

Getting closer...
    Create a timeline for the day of the event - who is doing what?
       Make sure personnel are not double booked at any time.
    Create invoices and receipts as needed for attending teams

After the dust settles
    Review your entire event
    What went well? What didn't? Where can things be improved?
    Will you do it again?
    Did the team work well together in putting on the event?
    Will you do it again?